PASADENA (CBS/AP) — Californians would have precious seconds to prepare for a major earthquake under a new proposal to create a statewide early warning system.
State Sen. Alex Padilla joined with seismologists Monday in announcing legislation to create the system.
The U.S. has been testing warning systems for several years but lags behind countries such as Japan and Mexico in implementing the technology to warn the public.
Such systems are designed to detect the first pulses of energy from an earthquake, estimate its magnitude and send alerts before damaging seismic waves spread widely.
Warning times would range from a few seconds to tens of seconds — enough time for people to take cover or begin shutting down systems that could be damaged by severe shaking.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)